Annual Chefs Summit at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa,California
There, Henin challenged the chefs to introduce two summer menu items that are organic or sustainable in nature, as testament to the companys commitment to the environment and quality cuisine. "As far as I know, Delaware North is the first foodservice company to take such an aggressive stance on responsible or natural cuisine," explained Henin. "An overarching theme for cuisine this summer is to have the food complement the travel experience. With a presence at many of our countrys most treasured national parks, we feel it is the right time to introduce an organic, sustainable concept that is in line with our environmental stewardship efforts. From a culinary standpoint, it simply makes sense to use the freshest, local flavors. And the end result is always better for the guest."
Chef Colin Moody at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, Calif., said hes eager to embrace the conversion to more natural, seasonal ingredients. "Were getting back to the way it used to be," said Moody. "If the salmons not running, we shouldnt eat it. If the vegetables are out of season, well offer an alternative."
Besides incorporating local flavors from local suppliers, the chefs at The Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite, The Encounter restaurant in Los Angeles, the Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park and others said they are committed to:
"Over the past six months weve seen an increase in guests demand for foods that are more organic and more local," explained Chef Frederick Clabaugh, executive chef at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. "With the companys recognition of organic benefits, Im excited to expand the menu selections this summer to include the best, freshest food available. We should all buy local when we can. It not only helps our community, but the food truly tastes better."
While at last weeks summit, Clabaugh created an organic dish that wowed a panel of culinary judges -- a grilled salmon fillet with cinnamon fennel chutney, garnished with julienne root vegetables and accompanied by roast fingerling potatoes basted with turmeric and tarragon oils. Other dishes prepared at the summit included free-range chicken, naturally raised pork and beef, organic turkey and fresh vegetables. According to Henin, the Chefs Summit was designed not only to share best practices and hone cooking skills, but also to educate the chefs on what it means to cook responsibly with regards to the environment and overall freshness. "
As chefs were empowered to educate consumers about why locally produced, seasonal items are better tasting, better for them, and better for our world," said Henin. "At Delaware North Companies were excited to make the transition from corporate cuisine to true local seasonality. We have opportunities with our special menu items to start introducing other options, and we expect that summer travelers will embrace the change." Many of the organic/sustainable recipes will appear in a new Delaware North Companies cookbook, anticipated by late 2005 or early 2006.
About Chef Roland Henin,
CMC Chef Roland Henin, CMC, is corporate executive chef for Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts. As such, he leads the culinary efforts for all Delaware North Companies locations. One of just 71 certified master chefs and pastry chefs in the United States, he provides consultation and direction on foodservice operations for all Delaware North-owned and -operated facilities. His responsibilities also include serving as a mentor to the culinary teams of all Delaware North properties, challenging their skills and encouraging them to strive for excellence. Henin is based at Yosemite National Park, where he oversees more than 20 food and beverage facilities.
Throughout his career, Henin has had many students, including such respected chefs as Emeril Lagasse; David Burke; Lawrence McFadden (one of the newest master chefs); Thomas Keller, owner and chef of the French Laundry, a five-star restaurant in Napa that is receiving accolades nationwide; and many others. Educated at the College Moderne in Nancy, France, Henin was designated a Certified Executive Chef in 1979 and a Certified Culinary Educator in 1982 by the American Culinary Federation. He earned the coveted honor of Certified Master Chef in 1983.
About Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies, Inc. is one of the worlds leading hospitality and foodservice providers. Its family of companies includes Sportsystems, Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, CA One Services, Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International, the FleetCenter and the newly acquired Delta Queen Steamboat Company. Delaware North is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with $1.6 billion in annual revenue and 28,000 associates serving millions of customers in the United States, Canada and the Pacific Rim.